Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights films that are written and/or directed by women. Once again, as there is a pandemic and things are constantly changing, these release dates (and how the films are released) could change. This month there’s documentaries, coming-of-age tales and the latest live action Disney remake. Plus, members of Team JumpCut are sharing some recommendation of films made by women that are available to watch in the comfort of your own home.
Mulan – available on Disney+ VOD
Directed by: Niki Caro
Written by: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Elizabeth Martin , Lauren Hynek
The latest live-action remake of a Disney film, Mulan (Yifei Liu) disguises herself as a male warrior to save her father from war.
Niki Caro is a writer and director. Mulan is her seventh feature-film and two of her previous films, Whale Rider and The Vintner’s Luck, are currently available on Amazon Prime. Amanda Silver is a writer and producer, some of her previous writing credits include Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Jurassic World. Mulan is both Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek’s second feature-length produced screenplay.
Cuties – available on Netflix
Written and directed by: Maïmouna Doucouré
Eleven-year-old Amy (Fathia Youssouf) starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew. Cuties (or to give it its original title, Mignonnes) is Maïmouna Doucouré’s first feature film and won her the Directing Award in the World Cinema – Dramatic category at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
The Social Dilemma – available on Netflix
Directed by: Jeff Orlowski
Written by: Davis Coombe, Vickie Curtis and Jeff Orlowski
Documentary into the consequences of our growing dependence on social media. The Social Dilemma is Vickie Curtis’s third documentary writing credit and it screened at Sundance earlier this year.
The Roads Not Taken – available in cinemas
Written and directed by: Sally Potter
A day in the life of Leo (Javier Bardem) and his daughter, Molly (Elle Fanning), as he floats through alternate lives he could have lived, leading Molly to wrestle with her own path as she considers her future. Sally Potter is a writer, director and musician. As well as writing and directing The Roads Not Taken she also edited it and composed the music for it. Potter’s second feature film, Orlando starring Tilda Swinton, won the audience prize for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival.
The Broken Heart Gallery – available in cinemas
Written and directed by: Natalie Krinsky
After a breakup, a young woman decides to start a gallery where people can leave trinkets from past relationships. Natalie Krinsky is a writer, director and producer. She’s previously written episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Gossip Girl and The Broken Heart Gallery is her directorial debut.
Hope Frozen: A Quest to Live Twice – available on Netflix
Directed by: Pailin Wedel
Written by: Nina Ijäs and Pailin Wedel
Documentary following a Buddhist scientist from Bangkok who decides to cryo-preserve his daughter’s brain. As scandal swirls around the family, they struggle to grieve a child that, in their view, is suspended between death and a future reawakening. Hope Frozen is Pailin Wedel’s first documentary and it won Best International Documentary Feature at North America’s largest documentary film festival, HotDocs. Nina Ijäs is a writer and editor.
White Riot – available in cinemas
Directed by: Rubika Shah
Written by: Ed Gibbs and Rubika Shah
Documentary about Rock Against Racism which was formed in 1976, prompted by Eric Clapton. It blends fresh interviews with archive footage to recreate a hostile environment of anti-immigrant hysteria and National Front marches. Rubika Shah is a documentary writer, director and editor. White Riot is her first feature-length documentary after previously directing six short films.
Miss Juneteenth – available in cinemas
Written and directed by: Channing Godfrey Peoples
A former beauty queen and single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the “Miss Juneteenth” pageant. Miss Juneteenth is Channing Godfrey Peoples’ first feature film after previously writing and directing three short films. She’s also written episodes of Queen Sugar.
Rocks – available in cinemas
Directed by: Sarah Gavron
Written by: Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson
A teenage girl suddenly finds herself struggling to take care of herself and her younger brother. Rocks is Sarah Gavron’s third feature film after previously directed Brick Lane and Suffragette. Claire Wilson is a writer and producer. Rocks is her first feature-length screenplay after previously writing episodes of TV shows The Little Drummer Girl, Gangs of London and The Power – the latter two shows she also produced. Rocks is Theresa Ikoko’s first produced feature screenplay.
Our new EIC, Fiona saw Rocks at AFI Fest last year and highly recommends it!
Hurt By Paradise – available in cinemas
Directed by: Greta Bellamacina
Written by: Greta Bellamacina, Sadie Brown and Robert Montgomery
A film about a poet and a girl with big hair. Together they find friendship as the possibility of their dreams dwindles. Greta Bellamacina is an actress, writer and director. Hurt By Paradise is her first feature film after previously directing three short films. Sadie Brown is an actress, singer-songwriter and screenwriter.
Nocturnal – available on VOD
Directed by: Nathalie Biancheri
Written by: Olivia Waring and Nathalie Biancheri
Laurie (Lauren Coe), a cynical schoolgirl, builds and nurtures a secret friendship with Pete (Cosmo Jarvis), an older man who’s apparently obsessed with her. Nathalie Biancheri and Olivia Waring are both a writers, directors and producers. Nocturnal won the Special Jury Award for Best Film at the Sofia International Film Festival earlier this year.
Secret Society of Second Born Royals – available on Disney+
Directed by: Anna Mastro
Written by: Alex Litvak and Andrew Green
Sam (Peyton Elizabeth Lee), a second born royal, is enrolled into a top-secret training program to learn how to protect her older sister and save the world. Secret Society of Second Born Royals is Anna Mastro’s second feature film and she’s directed episodes of multiple TV shows including Jane the Virgin, Runaways and The Bold Type.
Nicola Austin interviewed Anna Mastro about the film in Issue #2 of the JUMPCUT MAGAZINE.
Becky – available on VOD
Directed by: Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion
Written by: Nick Morris, Ruckus Skye and Lane Skye
A teenager’s weekend at a lake house with her father takes a turn for the worse when a group of convicts wreaks havoc on their lives. Lane Skye is a writer, director and producer. Becky is her second feature-length screenplay.
Team JumpCut’s recommendations
Bride & Prejudice – available on VOD
Directed by: Gurinder Chadha
Written by: Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges
This modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel with a Bollywood twist is just so much fun! The four Bakshi sisters (aka the Bennet’s) are all fully realised and the music is fab too – “No Life Without Wife” is a personal highlight.
The Edge of Seventeen – available on Netflix
Written and directed by: Kelly Fremon Craig
The Edge of Seventeen is such great film. With its clever script it both embraces and subverts the typical high school clichés. It’s funny and heartfelt and Hailee Steinfeld is brilliant – it’s her performance that gets you to like Nadine even when she’s doing crazy things and pushing people away.
System Crasher – available on VOD
Written and directed by: Nora Fingscheidt
System Crasher is a tough, but worthwhile viewing experience as you follow nine-year-old Benni on a quest for love and happiness. The editing and music choices are often just as chaotic as the emotions Benni is going through and it perfectly captures the chaos that surrounds her – the chaos she often causes, unwittingly or not.
Queen of Katwe – available on Disney+
Directed by: Mira Nair
Written by: William Wheeler
Queen of Katwe really is an underappreciated and underseen gem of a film. It’s based on an incredible true story and has outstanding performances from David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o. It’s a heartfelt film and makes a sports movie out of chess tournaments.
The Invitation – available on Netflix
Directed by: Karyn Kusama
Written by: Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi
The Invitation is a gripping and eerie film. Being set primarily in one location gives you a creepy feeling and will definitely make you reconsider when you next receive a posh invite to a dinner party.
As always, we’d love to hear what films you’ve watched recently that are made by women, and if you do venture out to the cinema – stay safe and look out for one another.